Tag Archives: Photography
A musical weekend
I’ve been lucky, not just because we have a new little puppy chewing our feet, but because my sister has been here for the past couple of weeks, and because we got to experience 3 different concerts over the weekend.
On Friday night my community band performed our concert, “Spring Potpourri,” directed by a guest conductor and featuring several of our members as soloists on assorted pieces.
We’ve grown a lot over the years, both in numbers and musicality, and it was fun to play together, under the lights on a stage with a pretty decent sized crowd applauding our efforts.
I’ve said it before, and it’s still true, as adults there are few opportunities to receive applause. No one claps when we make supper or do the laundry or go off to work or mow the lawn.
Most people have never had the thrill of accepting applause for anything.
Applause is one of the many rewards for playing in a community band. Friendships are another. And the joy of playing music is the best reward of all.
Saturday evening my sister, husband and I went down to hear the Ann Arbor Symphony play Debussy, Prokofiev and Dvorak. This concert was played at the historic Michigan Theater, built in 1927.
It’s a beautiful building and we had fun, prior to the concert, taking pictures of the ornate architecture. I liked the Dvorak piece, Symphony No. 7 in D minor, but my favorite was Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, with the beautiful flute in the beginning and woven throughout.
The principal flutist talked prior to the concert about what a responsibility she had playing this piece, the work is so famous and the expectations are so high. Of course she played it absolutely beautifully. My sister plays flute, so it was special to listen to this work on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday afternoon she and I drove about 45 miles to Imlay City to listen to the Belle Valley Community Band play their spring concert, which was filled with Irish and Scottish music, and featured the Alma College Pipe Band.
You don’t get to hear a pipe band every day, and since my sister also plays bagpipes this was a very special concert as well. The community band was so fun to listen to and when you add in bagpipes, well, it was spectacular!
I was thinking as I looked at the crowd almost filling the gym bleachers and seated in rows of folding chairs down on the gym floor, that it was pretty cool to see a community come out in such numbers to support their local musicians.
And I wished that every community band or orchestra, every community theater group, every group of artists putting together a show would have such support. It’s a win/win for the artists and their communities. Everyone leaves smiling, no matter the venue, no matter what type of art.
Please go google the words community band, or community orchestra or community theater in your town. Odds are you have one near by. They’ll have a website and you can probably find their spring concert or their spring production, or their spring art installation.
Mark your calendar and then show up. You’d be amazed at the talent all around you.
And they’ll be thrilled to have more people there, enjoying their work and applauding.
Don’t see how you could go wrong.
Wordless Wednesday lost
Mom says we missed Wordless Wednesday. She says it’s Thursday now and I need to move on, but seriously, I think Wednesdays are perfect days to showcase me, especially during my cute puppy days.
Cause everybody knows that puppyhood doesn’t last forever.
So I have tasked mom with making sure she posts a picture of me, her Adventure Girl, every Wednesday.
And, because she messed up already, I am requiring additional photos today. Sort of an advance on future Wednesdays, just in case she loses track of time again.
I’ve only lived with mom and daddy a month and I can already tell I’m going to have to keep them in line. They mumble something about being retired but that’s not going to fly with a puppy in the house!
I’ve got so much to tell you, but for now, over and out,
Your feisty chewing whirlwind Adventure Girl, signing out!
Color in a drab world
A week ago yesterday the sun finally came out. We’d had weeks on end, it seemed, of nothing but cloudy skies, cold wind, and sleeting rain.
It is, after all, Michigan in February.
But when the sun broke through all the grey I couldn’t help but want to get out and see if I could find any color.
I went to my local Metropark, Indian Springs, because it’s close to home and the bike trail meanders through wetlands, hills and woods. Perfect for testing my spring thesis.
What spring thesis you ask? Well…I think about February around here Spring starts flexing her muscles and if you look and listen carefully you’ll know she’s right around the corner, just waiting to burst through the last bits of winter.
My husband saw a red-winged blackbird this week, though we haven’t heard them yet. If they’re here, than it’s officially spring, no matter what the skies drop on us.
Oh, to be sure, I know this winter has not slunk off into history yet. There will be more snow. More cold. More windy sleet. But on that Saturday, just eight days ago the sky was a brilliant blue, and it was warm enough take pictures without wearing gloves.
I thought you’d want to know, especially those of you even further north than me, that it won’t be long now. Nope, check your gardens, especially those near your house. You might find some hope poking up, reaching for the sun, ready to put a smile on your face.
And if not, go for a walk in woods near you and keep a sharp eye out for hints that we’re almost out of the deep freeze.
I know, I know. Every year, every single year, I go on and on about spring being near, that we’ve almost outrun the cold, and then we get slammed with a blizzard.
I know I’m being foolish (again) by believing that this year will be different.
This year we won’t have those last winter storms, when buds are opening and fruit trees are vulnerable. This year we’ll head straight into warm summer afternoons, we’ll bypass the last salt trucks and snow plows.
Yep. This is the year we jump straight into spring. I’m sure of it.
Don’t forget the pelicans!
This is a post I thought I’d have up a long ago. But exciting things interrupted the flow (and she probably always will).
A week ago, long before we knew we’d be sheltie parents by the weekend, I went out looking for barns and failing at that decided to check out Midland’s Overlook Park to see if the pelicans I’d heard about would be there.
I saw lots of other stuff, but no pelicans for the first couple hours. The sun started going down and it got colder. I hung out, hoping. But how long should I wait?
I’d just about given up, had started texting someone about something or other, my mind moving on from the cold parking lot in the growing dusk, when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of white, right up near the edge of the pond directly in front of me…and behind the chain-link fence which is covered with vines.
A squadron of pelicans had landed! I squealed even though I couldn’t get a clear shot of them.
Next to me in the parking lot was another photographer, also with a long lens, also frustrated that the big white birds were swimming up and down along the edge of the pond, obscured by the fence.
But we waited, hoping. And eventually the six of them edged out just a bit into water unobscured by the fence. It was very, very, very cool.
And as the dusk intensified four more pelicans arrived to join the pod. Most of the time we couldn’t really see them…they’d swim out toward the middle a little bit and then all of the sudden they’d all flock back to the edge as if something startled them.
But I’ve been reading how scoops of pelicans can work together to herd fish into more shallow water for easier fishing. It’s possible that’s what they were doing.
Groups of pelicans are called several things, according to articles I’ve found. “A group of pelicans has many collective nouns, including a “brief”, “pod”, “pouch”, “scoop”, and “squadron” of pelicans.” You can google it too….they’re called different things depending on what they’re doing at the time. I don’t think I used the right terms, but it was fun to read about.
Regardless of what they’re called, they were magical to watch, and I’m really glad I stuck around, and I’m doubly glad they decided to show up, right in front of where I was parked!
And now you’ve seen them too!
Searching for a barn-ican
Wednesday I suddenly found myself with a few hours free in the afternoon. And we had sun with the rest of the week predicted to be cold and rainy. What should I do?
What would you do?
I decided I should head out in search of a few photogenic barns. I wasn’t sure where I’d be going, but just going in search of barns felt great. I told myself it didn’t matter if I found any. I had a full tank of gas and nowhere I had to be.
But after a couple of hours I wasn’t thrilled with what I’d found. I seemed to be in familiar territory and hadn’t seen anything new. Then I turned one more corner and found this one. It was perfect.
Maybe I wasn’t going to find any more great barns, but it was still early, going on 3:30. I knew I wasn’t far from Overlook Park in Midland, where another photographer had seen pelicans this winter. I’d been there twice before, searching for the pelicans, but hadn’t seen anything more interesting than geese and ducks.
But she’d told me, just recently, that it was always dusk when she saw the pelicans. Would it be worth it to hang out there until the sun went down? I decided to go see.
Overlook Park, located in Midland, Michigan, is basically a parking lot perched on a hill looking out over the retention ponds of DOW Chemical. I’ve seen eagles and hawks and geese and ducks and deer there. But never pelicans.
When I first arrived there was one other car parked there, somebody with binoculars scanning the ponds. I pulled in and immediately saw something big headed our way. It landed in a tree on the outer edges of the park, not so far from the parking lot. I thought maybe it was a juvenile eagle. But I was wrong.
It’s a hawk, I think, though I’m no expert on differentiating between hawks. As soon as I got out of the car he (or she) spotted me and I knew right away it was going to take flight. I wasn’t wrong about that!
I tried to keep it in the frame, but that was just about impossible.
It flew off to my right, into the woods where it could have some privacy. I sighed and returned to my search of the water, looking for pelicans.
I wondered if the pelicans were way over on the other side of the pond, with the hundreds of geese and ducks over there. If they were, there wasn’t a chance I’d ever see them. Even as I considered what else I could shoot, hundreds of geese lifted up, at once, in groups of a dozen or two and flew overhead.
The noise was amazing. I don’t know if they were headed to their night roosts, or just stirring up trouble because they could. After they moved on I hunkered down to wait some more. The sun was going down and it was getting colder.
I wondered if I’d be lucky. I had no idea from which direction the pelicans would come or where they’d land. So much of the water was far away from where I waited. I reminded myself this wasn’t Disney World, the pelicans weren’t on the clock. There were no guarantees they’d show up at all.
Meanwhile I was entertained by some adorable diving ducks. You’d see them swimming…
…and then suddenly they’d disappear, leaving only a ring of ripples to show they had ever been there.
Then they’d pop back up again somewhere else. It was so fun to watch.
Still…I was there for pelicans. Would they come in as the sun went down or arrive under the cover of darkness? Would it be at the other end of the pond? Had they migrated on to somewhere warmer? Were they even still in the state?
Would they show up at all? How long should I wait?
How long would you wait?
When I left you and the birds last I was headed to the back regions of Kensington Metropark in search of deer. It’s almost guaranteed to find one or two back there if you’re quiet. If you’re not quiet you won’t see any. But they’ll be watching you.
As I worked my way toward the back a woman coming the other way said she had seen two beautiful does in the furthest back corner of the longest loop. Since I was headed that direction anyway I smiled my thanks. I knew they wouldn’t still be there when I arrived, but I also knew there were some back there.
On the way I had a few birds begging for treats, so I stopped and tossed them a few peanuts. I was busy doing that when a guy came up the path. He apologized for interrupting my bird photo shoot. I said no problem, there would be lots of opportunities to get more pictures.
We talked for awhile. He said there was a thicket to the right around the next corner where he often saw multiple pairs of cardinals. I thanked him and got back to work shooting my birds.
I had only seen a couple of deer far off in the woods so far, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see many more. But a whole lot of cardinals? That would be fun!
And then I rounded the corner, and saw the guy down at the end of a long slope, taking pictures with his phone of several deer that were standing around quite close to him. I stopped so as to not startle them.
At first they were focused on him, hoping for a handout. Then they noticed me.
The guy moved on and now I was the main attraction.
I know they wanted something to eat, but all I had was seed for the birds. Not nearly enough to feed the herd. I moved on trying not to startle them, until I came to the thicket around another corner, quite a ways from the herd of dear, where the cardinals lived.
There was only one that I saw that morning, but he delighted me by flying up to a sunlit branch.
I had the camera up to my eyes, trying to figure out the best shot when I heard footsteps. I thought maybe another person was coming along the trail so I pulled off a few shots of the cardinal, knowing he’d fly away.
And then I lowered the camera and glanced back to see who was coming.
I guess they hadn’t given up on me. I felt even worse that I had nothing to give them. One in particular was out front. I thought he was a youngster, less wary, perhaps more hungry.
I stood and watched them as they gave up on me and wandered a bit looking for something to eat.
Then I moved as swiftly as I could away, climbing a hill and making a couple turns as soon as I could to put some space between me and them. I found myself next to another thicket that had all sorts of birds, including a cardinal couple.
They were interested in me but not interested in getting too close. In fact, Ms. Cardinal took great delight in not giving me a clear shot to a great image.
She flitted from here to there.
Always making sure there were twigs and branches between her and me…
…while making sure she showed enough of her beautiful colors to keep me intrigued.
She let me chase her down the trail, always keeping something between us.
After awhile I just gave up and went on down the trail. It was getting late and I was a long way from the car.
But there were a whole lot of birds waiting for me, so it wasn’t a fast trip back to the car.
No, they dropped out of trees and flew around my head as I walked, landing on my camera lens if I ignored them.
They were everywhere. I was surprised because usually that far back in the woods, where fewer people walk, the birds are not as eager to engage.
As I got closer to the parking lot the birds because more assertive. I emptied my pocket of seed, sharing some with a squirrel or two along the way.
Eventually I made it out of there, completely stripped of all treats, but with a full card of wonderful images, and great memories.
Even though I didn’t gain an audience with the Queen of the Boardwalk.